Volume 96, Issue 58
Tuesday, January 14, 2003

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Dalhousie tuition to rise by 47 per cent?
Report cites increase as an option

By Paolo Zinatelli
Gazette Staff

A recent budget advisory committee report from Dalhousie University has suggested the university may need to increase tuition by as much as 47 per cent for next year, due to a shortfall in revenue.

The report outlined three options for what the committee suggests may be a $23.5 million shortfall next year. These options include a large tuition increase, a jump in student enrollment or spending cuts in programs.

"The budget advisory committee is made up of faculty, staff and student representation," said Stacey Pineau, a Dalhousie spokesperson. The $23.5 million mentioned in the report is a spending deficit, she said, explaining this is money the school would ideally like to have to spend on a variety of different items, such as facilities and library acquisitions.

The recommendations are on the extreme end of the continuum, and are intended to get people to debate, Pineau said. The committee is looking for people to put forth ideas and recommendations, she added.

"None of the recommendations in the paper will be implemented or put forward to the Board of Governors," Pineau stated.

Final recommendations will likely involve a combination of tuition increases, enrollment increases and budget cuts, Pineau explained.

"Obviously, [this is] a huge concern for the Student Union," said Johanne Galarneau, president of the Dalhousie Student Union.

As a province, Nova Scotia ranks last in terms of post-secondary funding, she said, adding the suggested increase in enrollment and the slashing of programs is troubling.

"We don't actually think there is going to be a 47 per cent increase," Galarneau said. It will most likely be a combination of all three, she adedd.

The committee releases two to three papers every year, she explained, adding the final report should be issued in February.

Earlier this year, in a letter to the province's auditor general, Nova Scotia's education minister Jane Purves cited plans for a 10 per cent increase in provincial funding for post-secondary education.

"[This is] targeted primarily toward university and college operating grants," Purves stated in the letter, adding the funding will help to protect quality programs and avoid sharp tuition hikes for all students.

Despite the possible tuition increases, the number of students from Ontario continues to rise at Dalhousie. Almost 30 per cent of Dalhousie students are from outside the province, and a large portion of those are from Ontario, Pineau said.

The school will continue to provide spaces for Ontario students, Pineau said, but added first priority will continue to be given to students from the Maritimes.

"Dalhousie has an appeal in that it's a big university in a small town," Galarneau said. "We like [Ontario students]; they add diversity."

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2002 THE GAZETTE